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San Juan on our own?

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So our May 12th cruise on Allure has changed its itinerary to now stop by San Juan instead of St. Thomas. But we'll only be there from 7am-2pm. My cruise planner hasn't even updated to show San Juan excursions. My questions are:

1. what can we do on our own that can kill a few hours? (We have 2 young kids)

2. Is it safe to wonder around town by ourselves?

3. How much are San Juan taxis? 

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29 minutes ago, SLJ said:

So our May 12th cruise on Allure has changed its itinerary to now stop by San Juan instead of St. Thomas. But we'll only be there from 7am-2pm. My cruise planner hasn't even updated to show San Juan excursions. My questions are:

1. what can we do on our own that can kill a few hours? (We have 2 young kids)

2. Is it safe to wonder around town by ourselves?

3. How much are San Juan taxis? 

1. The forts are great for the family and is walking distance. Old San Juan is beautiful and close to the dock.

2. I’m from PR and is safe to wonder around. If you don’t feel safe, just stay in the tourist areas.

3. Taxis are a little expensive. I would recommend Uber.

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11 hours ago, melski94 said:

Absolutely safe.  We really enjoy Old San Juan and my kids (youngest is 7) like walking the forts, especially El Morro. It’s only about $8 admission to both forts for adults, kids are free.  Its cheap way to explore for a few hours.  

Where is the El Morro fort relative to the cruise pier?  We'd love to visit the forts if the walk is not too bad. Our kids are 3 and 5 and we don't plan to bring a stroller. Are there places to rest along the way if their little legs get tired?  Sorry for all the questions. I'm trying to research as much as I can last minute as our cruise is next week and they've only made the changes now. :)

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22 minutes ago, SLJ said:

Where is the El Morro fort relative to the cruise pier?  We'd love to visit the forts if the walk is not too bad. Our kids are 3 and 5 and we don't plan to bring a stroller. Are there places to rest along the way if their little legs get tired?  Sorry for all the questions. I'm trying to research as much as I can last minute as our cruise is next week and they've only made the changes now. :)

Roughly 1.3 miles, slightly up hill going, downhill returning.  

Source: Google Maps

1014591026_delmorroroute.thumb.jpeg.a1efc99b248c94212f80e9a539b238f5.jpeg

Once there you'll likely see kids running around the field in front, flying kites, etc.  

On the left side of the map along the water's edge is a paved sidewalk that is a pleasant (but longer) walk VIA Paseo de la Princesa.  This is my preferred route coming back.  

There is also San Cristóbal fort that is closer to the pier at roughly 1/2 mile.

579613296_sancristobalroute.thumb.jpeg.6131743a2be90d49de983bba317f9e91.jpeg

This is for ships visiting for the day.  For ships that are home ported in San Juan they use another pier further away but that is only for ships that start the cruise in San Juan.   

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Hmm..going to be in San Juan for the same hrs(7-2) when I am there in Nov on Harmony. Was thinking of doing a guided tour booked through Royal, but perhaps we may do this on our own. Besides the fort, finding the street with the umbrella's for some photos and trying some food and a cold drink......I don't think there'd time for much else with that early departure!

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@twangster this is super helpful!! Thank you so much!  I tried looking at the same map but wasn't too sure which fort was which. Now you've made it clear :)  I read somewhere that there's a free trolley that'll take you to the forts. Do you know if that's still available? If it's just me and my husband alone, we'd totally do the walk.

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1 hour ago, monctonguy said:

Hmm..going to be in San Juan for the same hrs(7-2) when I am there in Nov on Harmony. Was thinking of doing a guided tour booked through Royal, but perhaps we may do this on our own. Besides the fort, finding the street with the umbrella's for some photos and trying some food and a cold drink......I don't think there'd time for much else with that early departure!

Monctonguy, I was there for that window on my Freedom sailing. My strongest advice would be to eat a BIG breakfast, and then either not plan on any lunch there or just grabbing some street food for a quick bite if you want to see more than El Morro and the umbrella street (which I believe is also where you'll find the pigeon park). We had the benefit of being guided by a friend of my daughter who lives there and was able to take us by the back streets to the points of interest I had shown in my live blog, but even with her help we felt really rushed to see what we did and have time for lunch (which we started at like 11:15 or 11:30 and didn't finish until 1:15 or 1:30). If you want a piña colada or mojito while you're out and about, you can probably find a place that will sell you one in a to-go cup, but there's really no time for a sit-down meal.

2 PM is just WAAAYTOOO early to be leaving that port!

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23 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Monctonguy, I was there for that window on my Freedom sailing. My strongest advice would be to eat a BIG breakfast, and then either not plan on any lunch there or just grabbing some street food for a quick bite if you want to see more than El Morro and the umbrella street (which I believe is also where you'll find the pigeon park). We had the benefit of being guided by a friend of my daughter who lives there and was able to take us by the back streets to the points of interest I had shown in my live blog, but even with her help we felt really rushed to see what we did and have time for lunch (which we started at like 11:15 or 11:30 and didn't finish until 1:15 or 1:30). If you want a piña colada or mojito while you're out and about, you can probably find a place that will sell you one in a to-go cup, but there's really no time for a sit-down meal.

2 PM is just WAAAYTOOO early to be leaving that port!

Can you please post the link to your live blog?  We'll be on Freedom in Nov. and we booked the San Juan on your own w/airport drop off.  We have 9:30-1:30. I'm trying to put together places we want to stop (Umbrella Street & the fountain are 2 so far).  I've been looking on Google maps & due to our short time there I know a sit down lunch is out of the question.  Was hoping for a later flight, but this was all Jet Blue offered and the price was good.

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2 minutes ago, NJCruisers said:

Can you please post the link to your live blog?

It's there in my signature, @NJCruisers. Click the link for the Freedom of the Seas semi-live blog. San Juan was our next-to-last port stop, so posts covering that will be towards the end.

To save you some time, I can tell you that we visited El Morro, the old Spanish barracks nearby, and the pigeon park; I'm not 100% certain any more that the park is in the same spot as the umbrella street; I just re-checked my photos and I don't see any with those overhead umbrellas, but they show so much shade that it might be it.

In between the barracks and pigeon park, we stopped for lunch at a place called Tropical Taste. Fantastic food and mojitos, but it took forever to get our lunch (the kitchen was barely open when we got there).

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5 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

It's there in my signature, @NJCruisers. Click the link for the Freedom of the Seas semi-live blog. San Juan was our next-to-last port stop, so posts covering that will be towards the end.

To save you some time, I can tell you that we visited El Morro, the old Spanish barracks nearby, and the pigeon park; I'm not 100% certain any more that the park is in the same spot as the umbrella street; I just re-checked my photos and I don't see any with those overhead umbrellas, but they show so much shade that it might be it.

In between the barracks and pigeon park, we stopped for lunch at a place called Tropical Taste. Fantastic food and mojitos, but it took forever to get our lunch (the kitchen was barely open when we got there).

Thanks - never realized links were in signatures!  We're staying in Condado the night before the cruise so I'm hoping to get at least 2 good meals in PR!   I don't foresee a sit down meal for lunch though.

Just out of curiosity - which part of NJ are you from?  I'm in Monmouth County.

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15 hours ago, SLJ said:

So our May 12th cruise on Allure has changed its itinerary to now stop by San Juan instead of St. Thomas. But we'll only be there from 7am-2pm. My cruise planner hasn't even updated to show San Juan excursions. My questions are:

1. what can we do on our own that can kill a few hours? (We have 2 young kids)

2. Is it safe to wonder around town by ourselves?

3. How much are San Juan taxis? 

I think you got a good feel for the other responses that San Juan is a great port to walk around and do on your own.   The little legs might get tired with all the walking but it's an easy, safe place to explore.  It's our (new) favorite tour stop.   The kids should like the forts, at the very least enjoy running around on the wide open grass space.  The Old San Juan gate is a great picture spot too.   

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1 hour ago, NJCruisers said:

Just out of curiosity - which part of NJ are you from?  I'm in Monmouth County.

I'm in Passaic County, originally from Bergen County. Howdy, neighbor!

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4 hours ago, twangster said:

On the left side of the map along the water's edge is a paved sidewalk that is a pleasant (but longer) walk VIA Paseo de la Princesa.  This is my preferred route coming back.  

Highly recommend this route, if I remember correctly you will also get to see the red gates on this path (From the outside). Cool story also.

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2 hours ago, ellcee said:

OOO! I say if you have time, have lunch in San Juan. The restaurants are so cute and a bunch have outside seating. It does cut into sightseeing time but but you get some good PR food.

This is a must also, very cool restaurants in old San Juan.

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As I looked into San Juan, I must say it looks a lot more interesting than St. Thomas. At least for me, because I love a city with rich history. I've already picked a route of where we'll go (thanks to those who gave me tips on here) and even picked out a couple restaurants. 🙂

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45 minutes ago, SLJ said:

As I looked into San Juan, I must say it looks a lot more interesting than St. Thomas. At least for me, because I love a city with rich history. I've already picked a route of where we'll go (thanks to those who gave me tips on here) and even picked out a couple restaurants. 🙂

Agreed! I think my parents might be a bit disappointed since they love a beach day, but I am very into history and experiencing the culture of a place. Ever since I found out we were switched to San Juan I've had the Piragua song from In the Heights stuck in my head 😀

 

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I know everyone has replied but oh man, San Juan is absolutely one of my fave places to embark from as well as stop.  Go to the church where pence de Leon is buried...so cool.  El Morro is amazing as is the other fort...we skipped it last time since my daughter wasn’t feeling great.  Everything is walkable.  Restaurants are amazing.  7-2 is way too short but you can do a lot.  Jane

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9 minutes ago, mom2mybugs said:

I know everyone has replied but oh man, San Juan is absolutely one of my fave places to embark from as well as stop.  Go to the church where pence de Leon is buried...so cool.  El Morro is amazing as is the other fort...we skipped it last time since my daughter wasn’t feeling great.  Everything is walkable.  Restaurants are amazing.  7-2 is way too short but you can do a lot.  Jane

Thanks Jane!  My plan right now is to visit Fort San Cristobal first since it's closer to the port. Then lunch. (I'm so looking forward to trying stuffed mofongo). Then we'll see how much time we'll have to explore after that. Probably won't be able to do both forts this time.

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3 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Agreed! I think my parents might be a bit disappointed since they love a beach day, but I am very into history and experiencing the culture of a place. Ever since I found out we were switched to San Juan I've had the Piragua song from In the Heights stuck in my head 😀

Lol :6_smile: Love it!!  I wonder if we'll bump into each other on the cruise :11_blush:

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